Sainz reveals bizarre reason for qualifying struggles in Jeddah

Carlos Sainz's pace-setting lap at the beginning of Q3 was beaten by both Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc at the end of qualifying.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz have revealed that he was unable to tap into the performance of new tyres in qualifying as his wait for a maiden pole position continues.

Sainz headed out for his first Q3 run on Saturday on a used set of soft tyres, and was able to set the quickest lap time as a result.

However, this time was beaten first by team-mate Charles Leclerc and then by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, whose immense lap puts him on pole for the first time in his career.

READ: Perez reveals why he’s confident Red Bull will defeat Ferrari in Saudi Arabia

The 27-year-old disclosed that the fact that he was on brand-new tyres for the final run of qualifying likely impeded him.

“The lap for P3 was pretty good, it was on a used tyre, because on a used tyre for some reason this weekend is giving me a better feeling,” he said after qualifying.

“The new tyre for me if very difficult [and] very tricky to handle and when I went on new [tyres] for the last run in Q3 I just didn’t have any rear grip and I struggled.

“For a used tyre it wasn’t that bad but again Checo and Charles beat me by a little so it’s still okay.”

For the second race running, Ferrari and Red Bull have locked out the front two rows of the grid as reigning world champion Max Verstappen lines up fourth.

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Given the pace proximity between the two teams, the Spaniard predicts a thrilling encounter on Sunday.

READ: Watch: Sainz suffers super aggressive porpoising at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

“It’s going to be exciting. All four cars mixed up between the Ferraris and the Red Bulls so we will play around with each I think with strategy and passes which should be an exciting race,” he added.

Perez claimed his first-ever pole position in Formula 1 in Saudi Arabia, while Leclerc out-qualified Sainz for the 15th time since they became team-mates at Ferrari in 2021.